Help choose Iain Dale’s top political blogs

by Stephen Tall on July 30, 2007

Now here’s an offer you surely can’t refuse: to help Iain Dale choose his top 100 political blogs.

In September Harriman House will publish the 2007 Guide to Political Blogging in the UK. It will contain articles on blogging by some of Britain’s leading bloggers, together with a directory of UK political blogs, and a series of Top 20s and Top 10s.

Instead of me picking my Top 100 UK political blogs (as I did last year) I’d like fellow bloggers and blog readers to send me their Top 20 UK Political Blogs by email. I’ll then compile the Top 100 from those that you send in. Just order them from 1 to 20. Your top blog gets 20 points and your twentieth gets 1 point.

The deadline for submitting your Top 20 to me is August 15th. Please email me your list to iain(at) and type Top 20 in the subject [sic] line. Or you can of course leave your Top 20 in the Comments on this post. UPDATE: You don’t have to send 20, but try to do 10 as a minimum.

If you have a blog, please feel free to encourage your own readers to take part.

Once all the entries are in a lucky dip draw will take place and the winner will be sent £100 worth of political DVDs!

A prize draw and the chance to contribute to a little bit of blogging history… what more can you ask?

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Remind me again – why are we assisting a failed Tory candidate in his attempts to reinvent himself as a neutral commentator?

by Andy on July 30, 2007 at 10:25 am. Reply #

Simple answer: I asked myself if this would be of interest to Lib Dem Voice readers. My guess is that it is.

by Stephen Tall on July 30, 2007 at 10:47 am. Reply #

Political DVDs?! I like DVDs but have to say, the vast majority of mine are not politically related! Not a very enticing prize!

by Doug on July 30, 2007 at 11:04 am. Reply #

2: Stephen, the use of ‘we’ wasn’t meant as an attack on LDV’s editorial choices, it referred to lib dem bloggers as a collective group – an expression of my usual blank incomprehension at why so many liberal writers spend so much of their time trying to defeat the Tories at the ballot box but are happy – eager, even – to roll over and let their tummies be tickled by one who writes a blog, thereby giving him credibility next time he decides to attack us. After all, he must a be a neutral, reliable, credible commentator whose word can be trusted and reported elsewhere in the wider media – look how many liberals have friended him on Facebook! And see how we’re all queueing up to be on his lists!

I’m sure it is of interest to readers of Lib Dem Voice. And I think that’s very sad indeed.

by Andy on July 30, 2007 at 11:25 am. Reply #

The point of this is actually to promote political blogs across the spectrum. Many LibDem bloggers will acknowledge that I have done a lot to promote them. Ask the Norfolk Blogger if you don’t believe me.

Blogging is a community. Just because I am not a LibDem does not meanb I do not want LibDem blogs to prosper.

You display a tribal, blinkered approach I’m afraid.

by iain dale on July 30, 2007 at 12:38 pm. Reply #

Of course I do. And I see no reason to be ashamed of it. I despise your party, consider it to have done untold damage to the people and fabric of this country, and wish to see it destroyed before it can do so again.

The concept of the loveable, fluffy Conservative who even his opponents have affection for is an exceptionally dangerous one from the perspective of defeating the Tory Party. And pointing that out, repeatedly, seems to me to be an essential service that someone needs to perform.

Nor do I accept that blogging is a community, any more than talking loudly in a pub or writing letters to the local paper is a community. The fact we use the same medium to express our views and opinions (or did, when I was still writing) is as naught compared with the gulf that exists between them.

by Andy on July 30, 2007 at 12:56 pm. Reply #

Looks like another Iain Dale “get the bloggers to write the book for me” special 🙂

Depends what he means by political DVDs – £100 worth of Yes Minister/The Thick of It/West Wing would be very different to £100 worth of “great conference speeches”

by Hywel Morgan on July 30, 2007 at 1:31 pm. Reply #

Although does anybody not already own Yes (Prime) Minsiter / The Thick of It / West Wing yet?

by Ryan Cullen on July 30, 2007 at 3:40 pm. Reply #

“Of course I do. And I see no reason to be ashamed of it. I despise your party, consider it to have done untold damage to the people and fabric of this country, and wish to see it destroyed before it can do so again.”

How very liberal…

Personally Andy I write a local blog that doesn’t pull many punches when it comes to the qualities of other parties.

I wouldn’t though go as far as resorting to words like ‘despise’ unless we were talking about about genuinely extreme and dangerous parties like the BNP or Communists, or individuals who have done dispicable things.

I also think it’s important to recognise what our opponents have got right, whether that’s freeing Britain from the diktat of self-important Union bosses or devolving power and improving elements of public services.

If we don’t do that we’re a pressure group in permanent ranting opposition, not a political party interested in government. The domination of people who felt Labour should be a purist sect of jeering haters kept them out of power for 20 years. We’ve been out for nearly a century, so I figure we’d probably do better to learn by understanding our opponents and emulating their strengths rather than characituring their weaknesses.

Iain has done a lot to promote political blogging as a medium, often against the hostile opposition of vested media interests and journalists who feel they and they alone have a sacred right to interpret news and analysis for the public. In doing so I feel he’s avoided becoming a similar monopoly by allowing free debate on his blog and attracting all stripes of commentator to his Internet TV venture.

Diluting unaccountable power and empowering individuals through information is to my mind part of the essence of what it means to be a liberal. Another is breaking the mould of bipolar politics by providing effective opposition where needed and constructive agreement where we agree.

So I can’t think why we wouldn’t co-operate with this project, whether or not individually we might feel the Conservatives are merely misguided or some incarnation of the legion of the damned with Iain as some sort of short-horned daemon cheerleader.

Or that such co-operation would make it any less likely that we’d descend like hornets on Iain if he ran against a popular Lib Dem MP in a target seat.

Besides if enough Lib Dems paricipate we can push Iain out of his own top-20 😉

by Andy Mayer on July 30, 2007 at 3:47 pm. Reply #

“Andy” is absolutely right. Iain Dale is using this project (as usual, very effectively) to promote himself to a hegemonic role in political blogging – nothing wrong with that, fair play to him – but Andy is quite right that he is building himself up as a neutral political commentator who just happens to be a Tory.

I don’t think that makes him evil, but it does make him a Tory, interested in promoting the Tory cause.

Be in no mistake, reinforcing Iain Dale’s leading role in the political blogosphere, helps the Conservative Party.

by George Ellis on July 30, 2007 at 4:30 pm. Reply #

I feel he’s avoided becoming a similar monopoly by allowing free debate on his blog and attracting all stripes of commentator to his Internet TV venture.

Speaks one of the regular sofa inhabitants on said venture…

I pretty much agree with what you said though, there are elements of the Tories I personally despise (the top-right Cornerstone bunch), but Iain seems much more approachable, even if I’m still unlikely to agree with him. I wonder at times how some of our party will react when we’ve finally got electoral reform, we’ll have to actually deal with these people sometime…

by MatGB on July 30, 2007 at 4:38 pm. Reply #

Andy, what you chose to apply the word ‘despise’ to and what I apply it to are entirely up to each of us as individuals: I’d hate for either of us to feel compelled to modify our system of values because of the views of the other, even though we’re on the same side.

Iain has been very successful in using political blogging as a means of rebranding himself from the laughing stock he made of himself with his failure in North Norfolk. The fact that he says nice things about a few of us from time to time should not lull us into allowing him to present himself – as his comment above suggests – as our champion and cheerleader. We can find someone from our own ranks to fill that role, surely? (Personally, my vote would go to Millennium…)

Iain in a target seat would be a Godsend, because it would take him out of his current, far more dangerous, role in which he’s busily giving his whole party a good name that we can ill afford to allow it to have if we’re going to beat it.

It’s precisely *because* I’m interested in government and not ranting opposition that I say we have to resist the temptation of responding positively to a basically decent chap behaving in a basically decent way. It’s the only way of making sure *our* basically decent chaps get a look in edgeways and don’t get squeezed out by the spotty oiks lurking behind him just out of sight.

by Andy on July 30, 2007 at 4:42 pm. Reply #

How can I get series 2 of the Thick of It? I never saw it on TV and am still waiting to see it!!!

by Stuart on July 30, 2007 at 6:29 pm. Reply #

>Besides if enough Lib Dems paricipate we can push Iain out of his own top-20 😉

I like that. But you’re sunk if he divides it by allegiance again.

Unless Andy declared himself a Tory, I suppose…

by Matt Wardman on July 31, 2007 at 2:26 am. Reply #

Re the Facebook thing. Apart from one person who I didn’t know, I have accepted everyone who has asked me to be their friend. It means very little – Facebook friend does not equal normal friendship. I have several Conservative “friends” on Facebook. I have several Conservative “friends” in real life. And? Do we shut ourselves off from people just because of their political views? I have royally sent up Dale’s Diary on several occasions (even if some people have failed to recognise my irony) and I have attacked his views. But it would be churlish to reject someone you have met and corresponded with when they ask you to be their “friend” on Facebook.

by Paul Walter on July 31, 2007 at 11:09 am. Reply #

I ahve to say that Iain has been a genuine and supportive help top my own blog, has helped to raise its profile and has given me several hints and tips. Believe me Andy, there is no other blogger in the world who did as much as me to help defeat Iain in North Norfolk last time.

by Norfolk Blogger on July 31, 2007 at 12:54 pm. Reply #

Every challenge presents a threat and an opportunity, it all depends on how it is handled.

It shouldn’t be excluded from the realm of possibility that Iain Dale might also want one day to admit the error of his ways and join with a different team, particularly one that has convinced him they have the winning argument – and we do want to win every vote available by fair means.

We are interested in government, and even our more intemperate tongues must accept we need the connivance of numerous media figures, if not their actual conversion to the cause.

by James S on August 1, 2007 at 1:49 am. Reply #

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